18 Apr 2021

MA English Part.1 Poem The Melodic Train Critical Appreciation and Summary


The Melodic Train

By John Ashbury

Critical Appreciation

The Melodic Train describes the perspective of modern American society. In this poem the social aspects have been discussed on emotional scale. Modern man s’ attitudes, temperament and behaviours are dependent on the circumstances. Poet s’ feelings remain else oriented. The self is replaced by else all the time.

 When he is sitting in the poem, he gives vent to his first feelings about the girl who is wearing enameled finger nails. His feelings about the girl are utterly impersonal and social. He reckons her look and position from outside. The girl is not funny in herself and the poet is not funny in himself. He is funny for other people with respect to their own judgment. The poet expresses his feelings in a modern way. One can say that these are not the feelings of a common man but they are expressed in such an impersonal way that they look familiar enough to be of a common man.

The poet discusses the concept of distance in a philosophical way. The distance is with curious justification and it is unofficial and impersonal as the poet and the girl are not in their usual mood and behaviour. The words ‘unofficial’ and ‘impersonal’ are contradictory to each other. The question arises how one can be unofficial and impersonal at the same time. This questions yet to be answered. The dilemma of the, modern man is to be unofficial and impersonal at the same time. The train passengers are impersonal as they are involved with other people going to their particularly journeys separately and they are unofficial because they are not on their usual places.

The distance or journey is like the time of a stop watch- right twice a day. It makes one unofficial and impersonal at the same time. The wait in the stations is dimensionless and vague. It is so because it is not and never calculated. The dimensionlessness of this wait is conveyed through the extrovert social behaviour of the people.

Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. The theme of this poem is the feelings of the modern man. The poet has successfully conveyed the attitudes, temperaments and feelings through the expression of feeling not through thoughts. The poem is masterpiece of literature.

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